Here come the smart TVs
Divisha Saran
Back in the 1980s, viewers eagerly looked forward to watching Hum Log and then spent the entire week discussing about it. Ever since then television viewers have been on a rollercoaster ride and have now been transported into a world of quintillion bits of pictures and words. 

PACESETTER harpreet singh
Mandi at a mouse click
The concept of selling vegetables has got a new twist in the hands of this foreign-returned sailor

Vasudha Gupta
There are always people who will talk passionately about sensitive social issues. But only a selected few will take the initiative to do something constructive about it. Based in Mohali, near Chandigarh, Harpreet Singh has had the satisfaction of making the change he desired.

It’s shoe time
Fashion is evolving beyond its traditional confines. Stylish clothes are not where it all ends. The right pair of shoes is crucial in turning the charismatic needle from zip to hip
Shobita Shivshankar
The 21st century has brought about a sea change in the aspirations of the average Indian consumers. The flickering images on their television screens are bringing the world of consumerism into their homes and hearts. For the first time, they have a choice. A choice of what they drive, what they eat and drink and what they wear. And this choice is not dictated by what is available in the market but what they choose to buy.

bling it on



Here come the smart TVs
Divisha Saran

Back in the 1980s, viewers eagerly looked forward to watching Hum Log and then spent the entire week discussing about it. Ever since then television viewers have been on a rollercoaster ride and have now been transported into a world of quintillion bits of pictures and words. More than 515 channels, thousands of hours of original programming daily and a combined viewership running into millions, makes Indian television network one of the largest in the world.

Rapid development

With such mind-scrambling advances in software, it is but natural that there is complementary development in hardware as well. The good news is that television sets have witnessed rapid development. From the 12-channel dowdy box-like contraptions that aired programmes in black-and-white, the television set has metamorphosed into a multi-hued hydra-headed gizmo offering a plethora of choices.

Because of the sheer variety in terms of technology, size and branding buying a new television set can be a challenging task. Gone are the days of the rear projection cathode ray tube televisions that aired monochromatic images. In fact even the colour television sets that beamed images from the electronic board mounted at the back of the screen have had their time.

The modern television set has completely done away with the old technology and comes in the shape of a smart and slim flat-panel screen. With so many brands and different technologies vying for your attention the buying decision can be both confusing and daunting. There are three types of TV sets — the LCD (liquid crystal display), the LED (light emitting diode) and the plasma screen. Though all are flat screen TVs and look virtually the same, and in appearance these are immensely attractive, you will have to make your own choices to determine what you want and come up with the right combination that suits your budget and style.


This is a “transmissive” display wherein the light isn’t created by the liquid crystals but a light source behind the panel comprising two layers of glass that are polarised and joined together. The light is created with the help of a cold cathode fluorescent lamp to display on-screens images. A diffusion panel behind the LCD scatters the light evenly to ensure a uniform image.


The LED is basically a specialised form of LCD, the difference being that in an LCD TV the lamps at the back of the screen are fluorescent, whilst in an LED TV the lights at the back of the screen are light emitting diodes (LED). These consume less power, dissipate heat better and the image has a sharper contrast and brighter display.

Plasma TV

This has the best display qualitatively as its panel is self-lighting. Each pixel is lit up individually producing its own light, which results in higher resolution pictures that have sharper contrast and high colour depth. It has extremely wide horizontal and vertical viewing angles, and the screen can be viewed from any corner of the room without distortion of picture quality.

Though all three formats have matching features, especially where excellent picture quality is concerned, for most people the final decision usually comes down to price and size. Experts say that if you are going in for 42-inch or lesser screen size then LCD is clearly a winner. But if size is your priority and not price then plasma is the best choice above the 42-inch screen.

Another advantage of plasma technology is that it offers picture-perfect clarity when viewed in low-light conditions. The LCD and LED televisions give best picture results in daytime light conditions and are perfectly suited for lighted rooms.

Better contrast

The LED scores over the LCD as its main forms of back lighting, edge lighting and local dimming give the image on the screen a better black contrast than its LCD counterpart. And though LCD TVs do have sharp and high resolution colours, the LED counterpart has a slight advantage.

It also uses less power, lasts longer and has a faster response time as compared to the LCD screens. But, if there is a huge price difference then it would be more advisable to stick to the less expensive LCD format since these differences are small and in the long run do not justify a huge price gap.

After all in today’s day and age when technological advancement is progressing by leaps and bounds, all three formats have their plusses and minuses and there is little to differentiate among them. So finally, it boils down to your budget and the size of your room

Sony Bravia S Series KLV-42BX400

With features like a fully digital integrated picture-enhancement and its S-force front surround technology creates virtual rear speakers and provides a surround effect. The intelligent-picture feature automatically boosts weak analogue signals to produce vibrant and noise-free pictures.

Price Rs 47,455

LG 42LK450

This is a smart TV that has excellent picture quality and many multimedia playback options. Its Netcast entertainment access offers limitless possibilities of accessing movies and shows and information direct from the internet. It provides full high definition (HD) picture quality with an ultra-slim design.

Price Rs 42,499

Samsung LA40A550P1

With a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, the HD images are very rich and have a sharp contrast. The colours are realistic and the sound quality is very clear. It has two speakers with an output of 200 watts. It also has 100 channels with features like PIP, auto-off and auto-sound leveller. 

Price Rs 57,300


The Panasonic TH-P42X30D packs in several new-age technologies that add value to the set. It has IPTV and shoutcast features by which you can access Facebook and stream various contents from the Internet. It has two in-built speakers and V-audio surround for in-depth sound.

Price Rs 35,960

Samsung PS42B430P2

This is an HD-ready television with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. It provides such good multimedia experience that movies, sports programmes and games come alive on the screen. It has two speakers and 100 channels with featuring child lock, auto off and auto sound leveller.

Price Rs 45,276 


With a 600Hz refresh rate and HD picture quality, the PT350 gives you a great viewing experience. With HD resolution of 1024X768 and a high dynamic contrast ratio, the PT350R is a great buy. Its 600Hz sub-field driving technology brings on the action with razor-sharp clarity.

                                     Price Rs 36,786

Philips Full HD LED 42PFL5556

The Philips 42PFL5556 has the widescreen resolution of 1920 x 1080p, which gives it excellent picture quality, sharpness, natural detail, vivid colours and smooth natural motion. It has two built-in speakers and supports signals from Blu-ray and advanced HD game consoles.

Price Rs 47,700

Panasonic TH-L42E3D

Besides being a great TV set, Panasonic TH-L42E3D is a technological marvel that provides social networking support, USB host and SD card slot for more connectivity options. It has built-in LAN adaptor for Wi-Fi, and can be viewed from any angle without picture distortion.

Price Rs 51,990

LG Full HD LED 42LV5500

The LG LV5500 is a great performer. It is a perfect blend of excellent technology and design creativity. It comes with 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, two built-in speakers, HDMI and USB ports. The picture and sound quality of this set will give you a real home theatre experience.

Price Rs 62,699



PACESETTER harpreet singh
Mandi at a mouse click
The concept of selling vegetables has got a new twist in the hands of this foreign-returned sailor

Vasudha Gupta

There are always people who will talk passionately about sensitive social issues. But only a selected few will take the initiative to do something constructive about it. Based in Mohali, near Chandigarh, Harpreet Singh has had the satisfaction of making the change he desired.

After completing his education from the UK, Harpreet joined Merchant Navy and came across wide differences in farming conditions in various countries. “Farmers in the US have enough funds to buy even personal aircrafts, but in India, they don’t have enough money to buy even seeds. Most of the farmers are deep in debt. Many even commit suicide,” says Harpreet.

This 25-year-old, who comes from a farming background, wanted to do something for the betterment of farmers. Bridging the gap between farmers and consumers seemed a good way to help the former. The idea initiated an interesting research project. “Not only in terms of education and knowledge of both farmers and consumers, there is a gap between what consumers are looking for and what is available in the market,” he says.

Harpreet started a website This site caters to customers only in Chandigarh and Mohali at the moment. It assists you in shopping for vegetables and fruits in the convenience of your home. And the site only offers organic produce.

This site also offers an interesting facility, normally not available with your usual vendors or in the neighbourhood apni mandis. Harpreet takes back over-ripe vegetables and fruits, or any product which does not meet customer’s satisfaction.

Hoping one day to work both with cooperatives and farmers, he wants to bring the two on the same platform. His site today boasts of 200 satisfied consumers in Chandigarh and Mohali, who get their supply of fresh vegetables on their doorstep, albeit after spending a few extra bucks.

“We do need to understand that if the quality is not being compromised at any level, the prices are bound to be a bit higher,” adds Harpreet. Harpreet’s expectations are much more than just home-delivery of fresh vegetables. “My main aim is to have a laboratory to test the chemical composition in vegetables and fruits,” he adds.

Still in a nascent stage, already has several businessmen eyeing the project. Sure of his success, he is not keen to sell his site, as he wants to ensure that his concept and products remain pure and undiluted. His motivation has also inspired his parents to adopt this purity. They too have given up ongoing farming techniques and switched to organic farming.



It’s shoe time
Fashion is evolving beyond its traditional confines. Stylish clothes are not where it all ends. The right pair of shoes is crucial in turning the charismatic needle from zip to hip
Shobita Shivshankar

The 21st century has brought about a sea change in the aspirations of the average Indian consumers. The flickering images on their television screens are bringing the world of consumerism into their homes and hearts. For the first time, they have a choice. A choice of what they drive, what they eat and drink and what they wear. And this choice is not dictated by what is available in the market but what they choose to buy.

Take the case of footwear. Young people are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their shoe preferences. Such has been the impact of the global biggies like Gucci, Testoni, Berluti, Emilio Pucci and Roberto Cavalli that swish consumers have made stylish footwear a part of their wardrobe essentials.

It did not require a management guru like Philip Koetler to predict that footwear had an untapped potential in the fashion industry. The Indian markets is now deluged with not just homegrown brands but products of international giants, including sporting footwear leaders like Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Puma.

Booming turnover

The increase in the number of players in India has meant acute competition and ample choice for consumers in terms of quality, material and style. The Rs. 20,000-crore branded footwear market is growing by a healthy 20 per cent a year and industry researchers predict a booming turnover of Rs 45,000 crore by 2015.

Figures show that branded shoes in India have a market size of more than 1,735 million pairs a year and are growing at an annual rate of 25-30 per cent. It is hardly surprising, considering the fact that the average Indian is gradually becoming more fashion conscious.

This translates into higher sales and stiffer competition for the companies. And competition has meant more variety to the consumers in terms of price and quality. Thanks to the entry of foreign brands, local shoe manufacturers too have been shaken out of their complacency and some like Woodland, Red Tape and Florsheim, have even set up R&D and design wings.

Range of footwear

The shoe market is primarily divided into three segments in terms of price and quality. The lower end ranges between a price pendulum of Rs 250 and Rs. 500 and the models in this range are made from canvas and PVC with uppers in synthetic, textiles or combination materials and shoes with rubber soles. The utility of these shoes is immense as they serve both as casual and sports wear.

The mid-segment too has many organisations vying for the lion’s share of market. The models available here range between Rs 800 and Rs 1200.

In the premium brand segment, one can get shoes ranging between Rs 1,500 and Rs 5,000. A number of sports and casual shoes come in this range that has brand leaders like Nike, Adidas, Lotto, Reebok and Puma offering a mind-boggling variety in this fast expanding market.

The foreign shoe manufacturers justify the high-price tags by claiming that their products outclass all other competing brands in terms of quality, looks and performance.

Global giants

However, there is yet another sector that is all set to sweep the market off its feet. Global footwear giants like Bally, Jimmy Choo, John Lobb, Christian Louboutin, Prada and Yves Saint Laurent are fully aware that the wealthy globalised Indians will spend a fortune to spruce their image with fine accessories. And they are busy offering them an array of choices ranging handmade classics to gold-toned and Swarovski-studded footwear.

The latest bit of footwear setting the trend-o-meter on fire are those retailed by global giants. Over the past few years, many of them have set shop in India almost unobtrusively as they want the by-invitation-only class of clientele.

Bally, the Switzerland-based leader in luxury products, launched its first store in Mumbai at the Grand Hyatt recently. Luxury shoe designers like Roberto Cavalli, Christian Louboutin and Gucci have set up shop in Delhi’s stylish DLF Emporia. Those that do not have outlets yet are making a killing selling through e-retailers like Jabong, Myntra, e-bay and a host of other sites.

High-end segment

All this translates into good news for consumers. With increasing competition in the high-end segments, there are bound to be price wars. Already most of the foreign giants come out with attractive schemes during festive seasons to lure the elusive customer.

That, in a way, showcases the mindset of the newage buyers. They are waiting to be wooed with attractive offers and bargain schemes. And the international players are ready to oblige. With the immense power of advertising at their command and thanks to a favourable market environment because of the rise in nuclear families with disposable incomes, the shoe industry is heading for a boom. And the big boys of the industry are ringing their hands in anticipation.

Here’s looking at some of the global shoe brands many of which are now available in India:


While buying shoes very few men know what they want. It is usually what pleases the eye. But men’s shoes fall under various categories and are to be worn for different occasions. Here’s a lowdown on the varying styles available in the market:

Oxfords: These are shoes with laces and are confined in length up to the ankle. The vamp of the shoe has a V-shaped slit for the laces. These are dress shoes and are usually worn on formal occasions. As these originated in Scotland these are also called Balmorals. The name is derived from the Queen’s castle in Balmoral in Scotland. Oxfords in America are called Bal-types and in France these go under the name of Richelieu.

Loafers: Though many people consider these laceless shoes as casual, in modern times, the difference is being blurred. Loafers can be worn both as office and party wear. These are low cut slip-on broad shoes with a wide and flat heel. The Gucci Loafers have been considered iconic for over a generation and have spawned many an imitation. Then, there are the Penny Loafers which have a stylised strap where the foot goes in.

Monk straps: These are slip-on shoes that have a single or double strap on top. In some cases, there are also three straps both to secure the shoe and add to the adornment. These are very versatile shoes and go with a formal suit, a shirt-and-trouser set, a pair of jeans or trousers matched with a jacket. These are usually plain-toed and are made of calfskin.

Lifestyle shoes: These are basically shoes worn on casual occasions. These can be in the style of Oxfords, Loafers or even Monk Strap shoes. These need not necessarily be made in leather and can be also in suede or rubber. These go with hardcore casual wear like corduroy, cargo pants, khakis, wool slacks and jeans.

Salvatore Ferragamo: Foot designs

Shoemaker to a long list of celebrities like the erstwhile Robert De Niro, James Caan, Andy Warhol, King Jigme Wangchuk of Bhutan and many more, the Salvatore Ferragamo brand is a global name to reckon with in unique handmade footwear. For many men, a pair of Ferragamos is a wardrobe essential. And its Mens Loafers Gancio Bit Mocassin has assumed iconic status.

Price: $490 (Rs 26,950)





Testoni: Walk in style

The first thing people will notice about you when you walk into a room are your shoes…that is, if you are wearing Norvegese shoes by Testoni. The company based in Bologna, Italy, is widely known for its classy array of men’s footwear. Comfortable and crafted lovingly, the shoes offer high class workmanship and have sophistication written all over them.

Price: $1,500 (Rs 82,500)




Jimmy Choo: Elaborate designs

When it comes to handmade men’s shoes, no one does it better than Jimmy Choo. One of the best known shoe-designing companies, many of its styles have become iconic. Among them is the Jimmy Choo Sloane Paisley Gold with its patent leather piping, leather sole and midsole and elaborate design makes this round toe an eye-popper.

Price: $590 (Rs 32,450)


Christian Louboutin: Foot fetish

It is a wearer’s pride and an onlooker’s envy. The Christian Louboutin footwear will instantly make you the cynosure of all the eyes. The collection includes a number of quirky yet striking footwear. It has given a new meaning to the Loafer by embellishing it with elaborate embroidery. The hand-stitched crystals and beads will instantly set you apart.

Price: $265 (Rs 15,725)

Bally Derby: Global appeal

Can you wear one single pair of shoes with jeans, with a formal suit or to the boardroom and also to a pub? If you are completely out of sync with style you would.

But Swiss footwear giant Bally has succeeded where others have failed. Its Leather Derby achieves just that. It’s a shoe for any occasion which makes it unique in its global appeal.

Price: $725 (Rs 39,875)



New & Lingwood: Original loafers

As an official outfitter to England’s Eton College for almost a century and a half, New & Lingwood has a formidable reputation. And when it comes to bespoke footwear it has no peers. Its handcrafted and highly polished lace-less Stamford Loafers are considered the last word in casual shoes and have come to be a part of the British fashion heritage.

Price: $470 (Rs 25,850)




J. M. Weston: Exquisite style

The French luxury shoemaker J.M. Weston has been the official supplier to royals and nobility for more than a century. Now it caters to the tastes of the modern-day aristocracy. Its new classic look is the Conti Loafer named after the 18th century French Prince Louis Francois of Conti known for his exquisite tastes. The pair, too, exudes superb taste of the wearer.

Price: $450 (Rs 24,750)


John Lobb: Sartorial classic

This is a label that demands a premium. Official shoemaker to many British Kings, the John Lobb handmade monk-strap shoes are a sartorial classic. Built from pebble grain leather, features a double sole, and is typically offered in dark brown and buffalo tan. This graceful pair can last a lifetime and can be worn with formals and casuals.

Price: $1,240 (Rs 68,200)



Yves Saint Laurent: Style statement

When Yves Saint Laurent gets into the designer act, the fashion world sits up and takes notice. One of its best designed men’s footwear are high-top scaled python skin boots in black. They have round tapered toe and concealed zip closure at inner side. Satin, suede and patent leather platform features a black satin upper with a metallic gold cap-toe and taupe ankle strap. A complete style statement in itself.

Price: $1,925 (Rs 1,05,875)



Berluti: Look-at-me loafers

What is the favourite casual footwear of celebrities like Robert De Niro, Andy Warhol, Gérard Depardieu, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bryan Ferry? It’s a Berluti Loafer. The French company specialising in high-end men’s shoes has perfected the art of making look-at-me loafers that are a step ahead of its peers. And so is its price tag.

Price: $1,850 (Rs 1,01,750)



bling it on

They are back. The wooden platform clogs that were the 1970s footwear fad, which evoked such extreme sentiments, are all set to be paired with the sporty mini-dresses and short shorts and spice up your summer/monsoon wardrobe. Chanel is offering linen jewelled embellished wooden platform clogs that would make you an instant fashion diva in the eyes of some and a fashion victim in the eyes of others. So go ahead, the choice is yours! 

Price: $900 (Rs 49,500)


He is a doll house maker from Sussex in England. And the speciality of Peter Riches is that he makes the most amazing doll houses for little girls with lots of riches. His latest took 15 years to complete and could go into the Guinness Book of World Records as the most elaborate doll house ever. So elaborate that it is a miniature 10-bed mansion with its own servant quarters, a music room with grand piano, a hand-crafted games room with snooker table and a library with over 1,000 separately bound books. Just a word of caution for someone who wants the miniature mansion for his or her little princess. This doll house could cost as much as a real house.

Price: $82,000 (Rs 45.10 lakh)




If you have the nose for the good things of life, this will come as a whiff of sweet fragrance. Guerlain, one of the oldest French perfume houses in the world, is celebrating a century of its fabled perfume L’Heure Bleue. Created by Jacques Guerlain in 1912 the velvety, soft and romantic perfume has been spreading its heady aroma for a hundred years. To commemorate the occasion the perfumery has brought out a special edition in a deep blue handmade bottle that has a 24-carat gold necklace wrapped around its neck that depicts a bunch of violets. It is crafted in such a way that it twinkles in the dark. A befitting way to celebrate the century of one of the finest perfumes of our times.

Price: $13,750 with gold necklace and $8,125 without necklace (Rs 7,56,250 with necklace and Rs 4,46,875 without necklace) 




It’s designed to provide you hours of intellectual fun. The Robotic Chess Companion, as the name suggests, challenges you to play against a robot, which moves its own pieces with a robotic arm. It is programmed with 128 levels of play ranging for chess for the novices to ‘Checkmate in Six Moves’. It analyses your skill level after every match and gives hints for better play next time. And don’t act smart. It can also tell when you're cheating. 

Price: $150 (Rs 8,250) 





If you are a great skater, then this is the perfect toy for you. Now you can convert your hobby into your conveyance with the Motorised Electronic Skates. These propel a skater weighing 80 kg up to a speed of 15 kmph. Each skate has an 80-watt motor integrated into its rugged fibre-reinforced nylon frame that powers its smooth-rolling rubber tyres. A handheld wireless remote-control manipulates the speed and the brakes. So, next time you want to go somewhere nearby just strap on your skates and reach your destination in a jiffy.

Price: $700 (Rs 38,500)


It’s a hark back to the era of vintage formal attire of tuxedos, monikers and pocket watches. Though tuxedos and monikers may not have yet made a style statement all over again, time has come for the pocket watch. Hermes has unveiled the Arceau Pocket Amazones, a dazzling pocket watch which has been designed using centuries-old hand-crafted expertise. It has a miniature painting with the smallest details of the coat of the horse and that of the horsewoman riding side-saddle. Obviously, those who possess this stunning watch are a class in apart. 

Price on request




Ever got stuck in a vacation spot without a hotel room? Many of us have found ourselves in that unenviable situation of going for a holiday and can’t find a single hotel room in the crowded hill station or beach resort. The best way out is to fit your car with a Habitent an innovative sleeping chamber that attaches to the back of your car to let you and one other person have a peaceful night’s sleep. Though the Habitent, so far, fits only a Toyota or a Honda, the company is working on a version that will fit all hatchbacks. That’s when you can bid goodbye to hotels and go on a real budget holiday.

Price: $560 (Rs 30,800)




It was from Neverland that the music messiah emerged with his flapping hair and swinging hips. There was something so visceral about Michael Jackson and his music that even three years after his death, he is still the greatest for his fans, who throng to any event commemorating him. It’s of little surprise then that an auction of his memorabilia by Bonhams in London is expected to attract record crowds. If you, too, are an MJ fan, be there at the auction and make a bid for his iconic gold-plated military-style jacket that he was so fond of wearing when his album Bad was released.

Price: Pre-sale estimate between $12,500 and $18,500 (Between Rs 687, 500 lakh and Rs 1,017,500 lakh)





Want to get a bigger bang for your big bucks? Go wrap your Merc in gold. Yes, Dubai-based company FibraFoil has taken luxurious living to a whole new level by wrapping the Mercedes Benz G Class with its own foil made in pure gold. Interestingly, when you don’t want to appear too ostentatious or showy or are just sick of the shiny exterior, you can remove the wrap and drive around in the original paint which will remain intact. But remember to put the gold foil under lock and key.

Price for gold wrap: $88,000 (Rs 48.40 lakh)




Haven’t we all longed for the pleasure of rolling out of bed and not caring who tidies it up? Yes, everyone, who doesn’t have help or support, yearns for that pleasure. But don’t despair as help will soon be at hand thanks to the Spanish furniture giant Ohea. The company is introducing the Ohea Automatico Bed, which can make itself in 50 seconds. Once the bed detects that you have got off it, then its two mechanical arms appear from the both sides, tidy the sheets, pull the duvet all the way up and lift and straighten the pillows inviting you to dive back again in the hotel-quality bed. 

Price: Not released so far